Barcelona coach Luis Enrique claimed his star names lack protection from referees after Neymar was sent­ off for the first time in his Barca career in a shock 2-­0 defeat at Malaga on Saturday.

The Brazilian was booked in the first-­half for delaying a Malaga free­-kick by tying his shoelaces in front of the ball and then charged into Roberto Rosales 25 minutes from time to see his second yellow card.

"I think the interpretation of the yellow cards is special," said Enrique.

"We have to have be very careful in some games because there were some ugly challenges from behind that went unpunished and tying boots was."

Defeat leaves Barca still three points behind Real Madrid at the top of La Liga and Real also have a game in hand.

Moreover, as well as missing next weekend's visit of Real Sociedad, Neymar could be banned for El Clasico against Real Madrid on April 23 after sarcastically applauding the officials after he was sent ­off.

On a night of regrets for the Catalans, Sandro Ramirez came back to haunt Barca after being released last summer when he broke the offside trap to slot home the opener just after the half hour mark.

And Malaga rounded off a famous win in the final minute when Pablo Fornals squared for Jony to fire into an unguarded net.

"They scored with their first chance thanks to our mistakes in interpreting the offside," added Enrique.

"From then on it was an uphill struggle."